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SHREVEPORT, LA -- Ray Hill has worked in the Maintenance Department for Shreveport Public Assembly and Recreation for more than 19 years. When he took over as Buildings Maintenance Division Manager last year, he knew it was meaningful but anonymous work. “The only people who think of maintenance every day are in Maintenance, until there is an issue,” Hill said.
So Hill decided to change that. He recently hosted an event to celebrate his staff and the 3,155 work orders they completed from June 2017 to June 2018.
The SPAR Maintenance Department covers all public facilities. The Public Buildings Division and the Grounds Division are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of all City of Shreveport parks, playgrounds, ballfields, golf courses, tennis centers and swimming pools, as well as recreation centers, Government Plaza, Shreveport Fire and Shreveport Police department stations and sub-stations, Independence Stadium, Festival Plaza, Shreveport Municipal court and more.
“If something needs to be done in a public building, we’re pretty much the entity that takes care of it,” Hill said. “In the course of a year, there are a multitude of things we do; it’s carpentry work; or it’s redesign of parks to make them better, more efficient, as well as practical. We change every light bulb you see in a public building. We do HVAC, refrigeration, locks on doors -- whatever is required of us.”
SPAR also supports many outdoor events, such as Jazz in the Park and Movies and Moonbeams. Maintenance employees set up electricity, plumbing and other services for those events. “We are a very active bunch,” Hill said.
When Hill took over as Buildings Division Manager, he decided to expand the department’s existing awards ceremony to further show support for his team. He created a new Buildings category, the James Brown Award.
“I grew up with my parents and grandparents listening to James Brown. He was known as the hardest working man in show business. I decided we were going to do an award like that, for the person or team who, no matter what, doesn’t stop and just keeps on going,” Hill said.
The plumbing section won the 2018 James Brown Award, with 709 work orders completed by three team members and one Certified Maintenance Technician.
Hill was pleased to see the plumbing section win the award because strengthening the section was one of his first year priorities. “I had no idea we would come this far,” he said. “I was astonished myself”.
DeShayne Hall, Hill’s executive assistant, was the division’s Employee of the Year. Hill said she took it upon herself to learn everything she could about the entire division, and how each section operates. “She wanted to know what made the engine run,” he said.
Lonnie Walton was named the division’s top Call-Out Maintenance Employee. Call-out employees respond to maintenance problems after regular business hours because they are more experienced and are expected to handle situations independently, with little or no supervision. “The call-out person lets me sleep a good nights’ sleep. Lonnie’s workload stood out with the volume of work performed, and how seamlessly it was handled,” Hill said.
Floyd Campbell was named Buildings Most Improved Certified Maintenance Technician. “He devised a plan to install steel rails along the fences at city parks to prevent cars from driving through the parks, a common problem that has cost SPAR money and man hours over the years. Are they (crew members) bringing us info to make operations better? Is there something out there to save us a dollar? That’s their job,” Hill said.
Other award recipients include:
“I plan to expand the award categories next year. One new award will be for self-advancement, recognizing employees who excel at learning and applying new skills and technology to their work. We always have to look for the latest thing. We have to train ourselves better so we can bring it to the crews. This award will recognize those who take the initiative to better themselves,” Hill said.
Hill is proud of Building Maintenance’s accomplishments in the past year and he expects even more from them by the end of the current year. He said it will be easy because of the SPAR team. “My job is to guide. Everybody has room for improvement. They are dedicated. They are buying in. I am going to let them run with it.”